Orioles are yellow-and-black songbirds native to Afro-Eurasia. Their name, through Old French, comes from the Latin word aureolus, meaning "golden", reflecting their vibrant yellow plumage. There is a similar-looking type of blackbird called the Baltimore Oriole in North America, but it is not genetically related to the original kind of oriole. It was also not named after the city of Baltimore as one would expect, but rather after the English nobleman Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore, since his coat of arms resembled the coloring of the New World birds. Aureolus is a diminutive of aureum, or "gold", and that, by way of Proto-Italic auzom, derives from the Proto-Indo-European word for "gold", aus. At some point, the Baltimore Oriole was made the official bird of Maryland, and several local baseball teams began using the name, including the modern MLB team and the New York Yankees until they moved base and changed their name to what it is today.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.